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Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels

2. The Long Queen

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In this module, we explore the first poem in the collection, ‘The Long Queen’, focusing in particular on: (i) whether we should attempt to identify the Long Queen with any real, historical queen; (ii) Duffy’s ventriloquising of men’s derogatory language towards women (“spinsters and hags”); (iii) the lack of overtly religious imagery in the poem; (iv) the stages of a woman’s life that the Long Queen oversees – childhood, the onset of puberty, “tears”, and childbirth; and (v) the Long Queen’s own pleasures – “the drums of women, the faint strings of the old.”


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 2002 collection, ‘Feminine Gospels’. After an introductory module in which we think about the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy in general and the collection as a whole – and especially the implications of its title – the course continues with a reading and analysis of each of the twenty-one poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2019, December 06). Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels - The Long Queen [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: Feminine Gospels – The Long Queen." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 06 Dec 2019,

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